Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April, 2015



It's that time of year in Japan. That time where, for a short few weeks, everything is perfect. I have a couple months of "spring break", so I really don't have much work. The weather suddenly becomes nice. And cherry blossoms and drinking, that too.


No clue.


Your meal, princess. As far as wedding food goes, Meguro's Gajoen venue was decent. I get in trouble for my criticism of friend's weddings, but this one was textbook solid.


Part of my photo series entitles Japanese Beauties Serving Tasty Food. Tai sashimi.


Wanko soba.




Meanwhile, up north in Iwate Prefecture.


I'm not a huge fan of sitting around and listening to jazz music. The gems are true gems, though.


This random jazz bar, in some random town that is famous for having nothing, turned out to be hellllla sick. It's called Basie, and you should put its existence somewhere in the back of your mind.


Probably the most epic stereo system I've come across. Everything was vintage, with tube amps powering these crazy custom made JBL speakers. Back in the day I built an audio system for my car using JBL components; 12-inch woofers in a tightly ported box with some separates installed into the door panels of my 1966 Ford Mustang. Respect.


Also keep in mind that the cherry blossoms pop about 2 weeks later up north.


Did you cop my book yet? Any support is greatly appreciated.




Cook your own egg in 90 degree onsen water, then walk down the road and have some old dude barbecue you some fresh shellfish.


Izu is always legit.


I usually jump out of the country around this time, but I'm starting to think that March-April-May is prime for touring within Japan.


A week after this shot and Mt. Fuji is almost clear of snow.


Enjoy the HDR.


Enjoy the obligatory sexy bike show at Lake Saiko.


This group of Chinese tourists were all about my choice of photo spots.


Don't touch my bike!


Super random designer house / restaurant up in Yamagata. Lapin serves up French barbecue in a beautifully bleak structure. You either love this style of architecture or hate it. I love it. Here is a better photo from the Hosaka Takeshi website.



Pretty good course as well. I'll be back.


FM Yokohama. My first radio interview. On air May 16th or 17th. Does anyone even listen to radio anymore?



Meanwhile, in Kochi, Shikoku.


So ridiculously good. Local deep-fried river shrimp and plenty of fresh katsuo sashimi.


April is also when the school year starts. I'm still working at a private girl's high school and a beauty school for a few hours a week. There is always that uneasy anticipation of the new crop of students. Will they be down with what I try to do? My approach to teaching, whether it is effective or not, is to create a goofy, fun experience that provides zero stress. While their other classes are chance for them to catch up on sleep, mine is a non-stop barrage of participation and discussion. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Ramen Book!

I'll just let Google figure it out for you!

Yep, I wrote a book about ramen. The full name is 最強アメリカ・ラーメン男 東京 極ウマ50店を食べる. Saikyo Amerika Ramen Otoko Tokyo Goku Uma 50 Mise wo Taberu. Let's break it down.

最強 - Saikyo pretty much means amazing.
アメリカ・ラーメン男 - American ramen dude.
東京 - Tokyo.
極ウマ - Goku Uma. Super tasty. Uma (馬) can mean horse, but the uma here means delicious. 
50店 - 50 shops.
食べる - Eat.

More or less a guide to 50 great ramen shops in Tokyo.

You like that cover?


Kind of an interesting choice for the cover on the publisher's part.

Well, the good news is that I was able to convince them to include some English as part of the book.

The Japanese ramen review pages look much nicer.

The idea of the cover was more about marketing me as this unique foreigner who loves ramen, as opposed to this being on par with the many Japanese ramen guides out there. The descriptions of the shops are a bit more wordy, with my opinions and personal ramen adventures making their way in. I even included a few essay stories, like this one about my trip up to Kitakata to crush bowls with some friends.

These aren't translated into English, sorry.

So there you have it. If you wanted a guide to 50 great shops in Tokyo, now you have it.

Bad news, though, it's only available in Japan! Yep, distribution is in major bookstores and the Japanese Amazon site, but not overseas. If you live overseas and want a copy, you can take advantage of the weak yen and I'll send you one for $25, worldwide express shipping included. Details at my ramen site:


Thank you to everyone who helped with this project!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

March, 2015

Spring has sprung.


And, as usual, the overnight blooming of the cherry blossoms was marred by another flash storm, bringing rain to everyone's weekend hanami party plans.


Luckily, I keep my weekdays free for the flowers.



You may never want to check out of the officially sanctioned Hello Kitty room. Wake up to that staring at you.


I just spent way too much on a new lens that I probably won't use. But it is necessary on my path to becoming a famous ice cream photographer.


Speaking of famous food, Narisawa, a hard-to-reserve spot that has been named the best restaurant in Asia is doing a pop-up soup truck in Roppongi. That soup was legit! And unlike the three to four hundred you'll drop at the restaurant, the soup was cheap.


Speaking of famous food. I want some ramen made by these three!


Sold out!



Go Niners? Craft Beer Market in Koenji (and a bunch of other spots) is only mildly overpriced.


Oh, some big news. I have a book coming out in Japan. It is a guide to 50 awesome ramen shops. Kind of a random adventure, getting published. I'll write more soon. For now, head over to the Ramen Adventures blog and give it a look!